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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Deadline placed on civic center plan


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A family takes advantage of the unseasonably warm January weather to lunch outside at the Los Altos Civic Center on Hillview Avenue. The complex housing a community center, city hall and police station is the subject of renovation plans.

One of the Los Altos City Council’s priorities for 2014 now has a deadline.

Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers told the Town Crier that the city’s process to update its Civic Center Master Plan – which would include updated plans to replace Hillview Community Center with a modern multiuse structure – will be complete in approximately 10 months. The city council established the timeline for the project at a Jan. 14 study session.

“This is a very aggressive schedule, but we think we can meet it. The short time frame will help us stay focused,” said Somers, who was slated to unveil a more detailed process schedule at the Jan. 28 council meeting, held after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Somers noted that the effort isn’t necessarily meant to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the existing master plan for replacing the city’s aging civic center facilities – particularly Hillview. She said a large component to the update effort will be a comprehensive review and validation of information already contained in the original master plan, completed in June 2009. Somers added that she believes “the majority” of the information in the current master plan will remain valid.

“There’s a lot of good work already done on what are the (public’s) interests and needs,” said Somers, who retained the services of Anderson Brulé Architects to develop an updated master plan.

Still, Somers noted that the update will explore new aspects for consideration as part of the master plan. During the hour-plus study session, several councilmembers expressed a desire to examine the benefits, drawbacks and costs associated with underground parking as part of a new community center. Two councilwomen – Val Carpenter and Jan Pepper – also shared their desire for adding a community pool facility option to the master plan update.

“We’ll see during public engagement opportunities where that falls out,” Somers said of the idea to add underground parking to a community center design concept. “It is obviously a more costly option.”

According to Somers, another key aspect to the update includes gathering ample feedback from residents.

The 10-month schedule, she said, will include no less than eight opportunities for residents to offer feedback and suggestions on various elements – such as a community center design concepts and programming needs – from the beginning to the end of the update process. Those opportunities, she added, could ultimately come in the form of workshops, city council study sessions and other public events.

Somers said the city will also look at ways to engage residents online as part of the update process.

“Not everyone is going to be interested in every element we’re trying to validate,” she said. “There are going to be different groups of constituents interested in different things.”

Somers said she hopes that the update process will lead to its intended consequence – a new community center building all residents can enjoy for decades to come.

“I think the community will really benefit from having a comprehensive multigeneration, multipurpose community center,” she said. “We have one (currently), but obviously without the quality that the community desires.”

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